SMA Forms of Membership:
One becomes a member of the SMA, not by religious vows but by a solemn oath.
All those who, responding to the Lord’s invitation place their lives at the service of the Gospel. Temporary members commit themselves to the Society for a fixed period, usually one year. Permanent members are those who, having made temporary commitment at least twice, are accepted for permanent membership of the Society and are willing to dedicate themselves for life to the mission of the Society.
Priests and laity who, for a stated period of time, want to participate in the missionary work of the SMA. We are ready to receive as missionaries, persons, from any nation, who fulfil the conditions required by the church and the SMA. They are not members of the Society but Associates.
“Candidates from all nations shall be received, provided they bring certificates of capability and good conduct and, moreover, give signs of vocation to the apostolic life” – Bishop de Brésillac
Commitment in the SMA
“The Society being essentially secular, a member will not take vows in it but he will make a solemn resolution to persevere in the Society to the end of his days, considering it his greatest merit to die at the work.” – Bishop de Brésillac.
SMA creates a particular bond between the one making the commitment and the Society. It implies a promise of fidelity and obedience to the aim and way of life of the Society, and to its superiors, while it is also a pledge of fulfilment, security and strength.
The permanent commitment is made by an oath, with all the rights and duties which this implies.
By this commitment, members are bound to:
- Life in common:
“This implies prayer in common, mutual support, spiritual and material sharing, and the personal dedication of each one in realizing the goals decided in common.” – SMA General Assembly 1973
- Apostolic life in common:
“This brings to people the missionary witness of a living cell of the church, and to a young Christian community the example of a Gospel-inspired life.” – SMA General Assembly 1973
- Consecrated celibacy:
“Which is a personal dedication of the missionary’s life in imitation of Christ… a witness to evangelical living and an expression of freedom and responsibility in Christ for the work of the Gospel.” – SMA General Assembly 1973.
The Society is committed to ensure for each member the spiritual and material means for the growth of his personality, his vocation and his holiness.
“The virtues of the priest on the missions are not other than those of the priest in generally Christian countries. They just need a degree more perfection. “ – Bishop de Brésillac.